Ballet's ups and downs
When a journalist addressed Karen Kain as "prima ballerina" in 1974 the dancer quickly corrected him: "I wouldn't go that far." Kain didn't know at the time that she would one day become Canada's most popular dancer. The ballerina from Hamilton went on to draw ovations from international audiences, with performances of "Swan Lake" to the more risqué "Carmen." By the time she retired in 1997 after 27 years as a dancer with the National Ballet, Kain had more than earned the title prima ballerina.
On her 20th anniversary as principal dancer with the National Ballet, the ballerina also talks about more difficult times. Several years ago Kain considered quitting the ballet. It's a time she refers to as her "Giant Slump."
• In her autobiography, Kain says director Betty Oliphant came backstage in 1980 after a "less than glorious" performance of Giselle and said, "I can tell you're seriously depressed and I think you should get some help."
• After two years of therapy and realizing she was "a classic workaholic and perfectionist" Kain began to enjoy life and her dancing performance improved again.
Broadcast Date: June 15, 1989
Guest(s): Karen Kain
Host: Peter Gzowski
Last updated: January 23, 2012
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
A 20-year-old Kain tells CBC why she started dancing.
Even royalty comes out for Kain and Rudolph Nureyev's performance in L...
Kain talks about how her ankles sometimes feel like "glass."
Ballet moms Winnifred Kain and Doris Tennant discuss bringing up their...
A media circus shows up for the ballerina's big day.
Kain becomes founding president of the Dancer Transition Resource Cent...
On Kain's 20th anniversary with the National Ballet, she talks about t...
Rex Harrington and Kain Kain demonstrate against Ontario's decision to...
Kain hangs up her pointe shoes.
Karen Kain is the National Ballet of Canada's new artistic director.
When a journalist addressed Karen Kain as "prima ballerina" in 1974 th...